How Reading Borough Council used Safer Streets Funding to Improve Female Safety
Posted: Sat, 25 Nov 2023 11:30
In July 2022 Reading Borough Council and partners secured Safer Streets funding from the Home Office to reduce crime and improve safety in Reading town centre, focussing on night-time safety, reducing violence against women and girls, improving safety for young people and reducing theft in the town centre. During the course of the funding, the following safety investments were made into the town centre:
- Reading Safe Space, the home of First Stop and Street Pastors, was officially opened by the Mayor of Reading in October 2023. The Safe Space offers residents and visitors medical assistance and on the spot assessment and treatment via Reading Street Pastors and South Central Ambulance Service. The Reading Safe Space will also deliver a range of community safety related services including crime prevention advice and training, resources and support for victims of crime and other collaborative services with partners. You can read more about the Reading Safe Space on our news page Reading to open permanent town centre Safe Space for residents
- The MyWay Reading app has been co-designed by female students at the University of Reading to help women feel safer walking on their own at night. Sensors feed live data into the app so that users can see which streets are well-lit and if any incidents have been reported on the app. Users can also share their location with friends and have an automatic SMS sent to a nominated person when they get home. Safer Streets funding enabled this app to be expanded from a student-only app to now being available to anyone who wishes to use it. Funding also enabled more sensors to be installed around the town centre to feed live data to the app. You can find our more and download the app on the MyWay website: Welcome to MyWay student safety – Thingitude – community led IoT
- Reading Borough Council and partners have handed out free safety tools to members of the public and to night-time venues, including anti-spiking tools (bottle tops, drink covers and spike testing kits) and tools to reduce theft such as portable bag hangers to keep bags safe in bars or cafes and re-usable plastic chains to attach phones or wallets to pockets or bags.
- Reading Borough Council and partners have provided free safety training to students in collaboration with Reading University Students' Union (RUSU) on bystander awareness, toxic masculinity, consent and intoxication, domestic abuse and harassment. This tailored training was partly aimed to reduce violence against women and was delivered by Beyond Equality: Beyond Equality and The Egalitarian: the egalitarian.
- The Safer Students Partnership was created as a collaborative working group between Reading Borough Council, the University of Reading, RUSU, Reading College and other key partners. The Safer Students Partnership engages with students at the University and College to shape ways to improve safety in the town. This helped to determine the right tools and training to purchase with Safer Streets funding (as detailed above) and also fed into the other initiatives including the Safe Space and the design improvements.
- Additional lighting and CCTV was also installed across the town centre.